On the legislative front—Last week a battle was quietly fought, and won, in Congress.

On Tuesday, November 30, 2010 the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 5953, the “Women Veterans Bill of Rights.” Initially the bill’s language raised concerns about the possibility of bringing in taxpayer funding for abortion for women veterans. The bill created 24 “rights” applicable to women veterans, including a right to “coordinated, comprehensive, primary women’s health care,” “gender-specific care” and “innovative care delivery.” These undefined, open-ended “rights” raised so many red flags that pro-life groups were forced to oppose the legislation, despite the praiseworthy goal of the legislation, to increase the quality of health care for women veterans.

In response to these concerns, Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) offered an amendment to the bill that removed the abortion rights concerns. The amendment clarifies that none of the “rights” listed in the bill are to be interpreted to include abortion, IVF, gender alterations, treatment not approved by the FDA and memberships to spas or gyms. The bill that passed contained this timely amendment.

LLDF is proud of the work done behind the scenes by many pro-life organizations and individuals to stay on top of this legislation, and of the leadership that Congressman Smith showed in offering the pro-life amendment that successfully incorporated into HR 5953 protection for the rights of the unborn.